Deutsche Telekom expected to lose exclusive iPhone contract in Germany this October

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Date: Tuesday, September 7th, 2010, 04:37
Category: iPhone, News

If it can happen in Germany, it can happen in America…

Another prominent exclusive arrangement with Apple for the iPhone is expected to conclude in a matter of months, when it is anticipated that Deutsche Telekom will lose sole access to the iPhone in Germany.

Per the Wall Street Journal, sources sources stated on Friday that Apple’s iPhone will become available on two new carriers as soon as October. Currently, the handset is exclusive to Deutsche Telekom, but the plans are reportedly for it to become available on rival carriers Vodafone and O2.

“One said that deals haven’t been finalized but added that negotiations are in an advanced stage,” the report said. “Deutsche Telekom’s exclusive rights to sell the device haven’t been extended and could end as early as october, posing a threat to growth in the company’s home market.”

Deutsche Telekom, which is also the parent company of T-Mobile in the U.S. and elsewhere, has 37 million customers in Germany, while Vodafone has 34.9 million and O2 has 16.3 million.

Elsewhere throughout Europe, the end of exclusivity has resulted in boosted sales for Apple’s iPhone. In 2009, the iPhone went multi-carrier in France after a government ruling nullified Apple’s exclusive arrangement with Orange. After that, it was estimated that the Apple’s handset rose to as high as a 40% market share of all smartphone sales in the nation.

The most largest exclusive arrangement for the iPhone is in the U.S., with AT&T. Rumors of a new CDMA iPhone compatible with the Verizon network have persisted for years, but have not become a reality.

In August, AT&T warned that exclusivity for “a number of attractive handsets” will end, leading some to believe that the company was preparing investors for the loss of iPhone exclusivity.

While Apple has allegedly not yet brokered a deal to extend exclusivity with Deutsche Telekom in the company’s home country of Germany, there have also been rumors that the company has talked with Apple about a potential deal to bring the iPhone to carrier T-Mobile in the U.S. Of the four major carriers in America, T-mobile is the smallest, with 33.7 million customers as of July.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Analyst points out advantages of iPhone on Verizon network, highlights Apple/Verizon negotiations in progress

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Date: Tuesday, August 24th, 2010, 04:24
Category: iPhone, News

It’s the rumor that never dies, but this time it could be garnering additional strength and credence.

Per AppleInsider, analyst Shaw Wu with Kaufman Brothers indicated that a deal between Apple and Verizon is being ironed out. The analyst went on to state that he expects Apple to expand the iPhone to another carrier in the U.S. next year. Apple needs this, he said, to maintain high growth, as the company’s smartphone nears saturation on the AT&T network.

The current front-runner is Verizon, which is said to be in talks with Apple for a “SVDO” iPhone which would allow both voice and data at the same time, something not possible with a traditional CDMA phone on Verizon’s network.

While Wu believes that the iPhone will eventually come to Verizon, that could happen as late as 2012, he said, if Apple decided instead to go another route: both T-Mobile and Sprint.

“It is notable that signing up both T-Mobile USA and Sprint would almost be the equivalent of Verizon (in terms of subscribers),” he said. “For point of reference, AT&T has 90 million wireless subscribers compared to 93 million at Verizon, 48 million at Sprint, and 34 million at T-Mobile USA.”

Wu said sources have indicated to him that important details are still being ironed out between Verizon and Apple, including technology and economics. But while the companies are in talks, he said it would be “premature” to rule out T-Mobile and Sprint.

However, the growth of Android on the Verizon network also provides Apple with an incentive to make the iPhone available on the carrier, he said. Making the iPhone available to Verizon customers would be the best way to address the growing presence of Android phones, Wu wrote.

While Apple and Verizon are said to be eying SVDO for the iPhone for now, the companies are said to be viewing that option as an interim device until a full-fledged long-term evolution (LTE) 4G phone debuts in a few years.

“From AAPL’s perspective, the debate is whether it makes sense to roll out an interim CDMA iPhone sometime in 2011 or perhaps wait until LTE becomes more available in 2012,” Wu wrote.

Stay tuned for additional details as we get them.

CDMA iPhone 4 receives “N92″ code name, enters new testing stage

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Date: Friday, August 13th, 2010, 05:20
Category: iPhone, News

It’s got a code name, which makes it that much more real.

Per Electronista, Apple’s long rumored CDMA iPhone has been given a codename according to sources close to the story. The device is now known internally as N92 and is already at the Engineer Validation Test (EVT) stage. As just a step before the Design Validation Test (DVT) stage like that of the stolen iPhone 4, its progress is appropriate for the often-rumored January Verizon launch.

There are no guarantees the CDMA model will ultimately ship or necessarily that it will reach Verizon. Apple could reach Sprint, US Cellular and most other smaller carriers in the U.S., and it could be intended primarily for international carriers like China Telecom or some Latin American providers. With 92.1 million subscribers, however, Verizon is usually considered the largest CDMA carrier and would almost certainly be the primary target.

Apple is now believed to have had a change of heart on CDMA. Where it once described the standard as “dead” since a clear majority of cellular networks use GSM and HSPA, the company has reconsidered after recognizing length of time to transition to LTE for 4G and, more importantly, the threat of Android. Verizon is the world’s largest Android carrier and has helped Google thrive with HTC and Motorola phones being “safe” from Apple.

Analysts believe a Verizon iPhone could flatten Android as some customers may only be choosing Android as AT&T’s network quality and the cost of switching carriers discourage them from jumping networks to get an iPhone. While AT&T has tried to minimize the risk of losing customers, others have anticipated that AT&T could lose tens or hundreds of thousands of customers almost immediately.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

AT&T report to SEC hints at end of carrier exclusivity, possible Verizon CDMA iPhone

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Date: Tuesday, August 10th, 2010, 04:33
Category: iPhone, Rumor

It’s the rumor that won’t die, but it’s picking up some interesting evidence that might make it that much more valid.

Per the Wall Street Journal and Macworld, wireless carrier AT&T AT&T discussed its exclusivity arrangements at great length in its recent quarterly filing with the Securities Exchange Commission. The filing has sparked speculation not so much for what it said about the iPhone, but what it didn’t say.

When discussing its wireless business, the carrier said it offered a wide range of devices including 18 smartphones. The reason for offering so many phones, the company said, was to reduce “dependence on any single handset.” The reference to the “single handset” has been seen as pointing towards the iPhone, currently the most popular device AT&T offers for sale.

After declaring the company doesn’t depend on one handset, AT&T’s report gets even more suggestive. “As these exclusivity arrangements end,” the report says, “we expect to continue to offer such handsets…[and] do not expect any such terminations to have a material negative impact on our Wireless [sic] segment income.”

Taken together, the comments about dependence on one device and the end of exclusivity sure sound like AT&T may be preparing its investors for a soft landing once the carrier loses control of the iPhone.

While AT&T may be preparing for the end of iPhone exclusivity, Apple is reportedly ramping up production of CDMA chipsets for the iPhone, according to TechCrunch. CDMA is the cellular network standard used by Verizon, while current versions of the iPhone are made for GSM networks. So Apple would to produce a modified iPhone for Verizon, and that could take as long as six months.

Per TechCrunch, anonymous sources that purportedly have deep knowledge of Apple’s supply chain. The report contends that Apple has ordered “millions of units of Qualcomm CDMA chipsets” to produce Verizon-compatible iPhones. The handsets would reportedly be finished by December in time for a January launch.

It’s an old rumor by this point but there may be a nugget of truth to be found here.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple in talks with T-Mobile to function as additional U.S. carrier

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Date: Thursday, July 22nd, 2010, 03:07
Category: iPhone, Rumor

Wireless carrier T-Mobile USA is said to be in discussions with Apple to bring the iPhone to the wireless carrier this fall, ending AT&T’s exclusive hold on the handset, according to a new rumor.

Per Cult of Mac, a “highly placed source” at T-Mobile, the wireless carrier and Apple are in “advanced talks.” The report placed an 80% likelihood that the iPhone will become available on T-Mobile’s network this fall.

Apple became interested because of the influence of T-Mobile’s parent company, Deutsche Telekom, the source indicated. T-Mobile is the smallest of the four carriers in the U.S., with 33.7 million customers.

As it currently is, the iPhone 4 is not compatible with T-Mobile’s high-speed 3G network in the U.S., as the carrier uses the unique 1700MHz spectrum. The iPhone is compatible with UMTS/HSDPA 3G connections at the frequencies 850MHz, 1900MHz and 2100MHz. In other words, the handset would need a new internal radio to work with T-Mobile’s network.

Apple and AT&T originally agreed to an exclusive deal through 2012, though it’s believed the terms of that contract likely changed over the years.

The latest rumor comes as most expected the iPhone to first head to Verizon, as reports have indicated that Apple is working on a CDMA iPhone that would be compatible with Verizon’s network. Unlike T-Mobile’s network, which uses the same technology but operates on a different frequency, Verizon is a completely different technology, which would require a more drastic redesign of the iPhone.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Consumer Reports vouches for Apple’s Bumper as resolution to iPhone 4 antenna bug

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Date: Thursday, July 15th, 2010, 04:49
Category: iPhone, News

There may be a light at the end of the tunnel for Apple’s iPhone 4 reception issues. On Wednesday, Consumer Reports announced that Apple iPhone 4 owners can eliminate reception problems by enclosing their phones in the “Bumper” case Apple sells.

The findings could presage a decision by Apple to offer iPhone 4 owners a free Bumper, as the publication confirmed yesterday that it has been in contact with Apple over its testing results.

Per Macworld UK, the consumer testing organization said it could not recommend the iPhone 4 because of major reception issues when users touched the external antenna, the publication’s engineers went back into their lab to retest with iPhones equipped with Bumpers.

Apple’s Bumper, which retails for US$29, represents the company’s first efforts to move into the iPhone case market.

“With the Bumper fitted, we repeated the test procedure, placing a finger on the Bumper at the point at which it covers the gap [on the lower left side of the case],” said Paul Reynolds, Consumer Reports’s electronics editor, in an entry on the magazine’s blog on Wednesday afternoon.

The publication tested only Apple’s Bumper, although another Consumer Reports editor said yesterday that it was planning on evaluating several different cases.

“The result was a negligible drop in signal strength – so slight that it would not have any effect, in our judgment.”

On Monday, Consumer Reports explained its could-not-recommend decision by describing testing of three different iPhone 4s in its radio frequency (RF) isolation chamber, where a cell tower emulator simulates real-world signals.

The magazine’s engineers also tested several other AT&T-sold phones, including the iPhone 3GS and the Palm Pre. None of those phones showed the signal-loss problems of the iPhone 4.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and I’ll happily trade you my first born for a Bumper should the need arise…

AT&T, Alcatel-Lucent release joint statement regarding slow iPhone 4 upload speeds

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Date: Wednesday, July 7th, 2010, 10:48
Category: iPhone, News

Following up on the recent frenzy of news since iPhone 4 users began reporting crippled upload speeds on AT&T’s 3G network at the start of the holiday weekend, AT&T and component supplied Alcatel-Lucent jointly identified a software defect that’s apparently triggered under certain conditions.

Per MacRumors, the following joint statement has been released:

“AT&T and Alcatel-Lucent jointly identified a software defect – triggered under certain conditions – that impacted uplink performance for Laptop Connect and smartphone customers using 3G HSUPA-capable wireless devices in markets with Alcatel-Lucent equipment. This impacts less than two percent of our wireless customer base. While Alcatel-Lucent develops the appropriate software fix, we are providing normal 3G uplink speeds and consistent performance for affected customers with HSUPA-capable devices.”

There is no word on a timeframe for deployment of the software fix for Alcatel-Lucent’s equipment.

AT&T upload speed limits may be bug, not intentional data throttling

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Date: Wednesday, July 7th, 2010, 04:44
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Following up on yesterday’s story in which some iPhone 4 users are experiencing slow upload speeds on AT&T’s network, the incident may be a genuine bug and not intentional data capping.

Per AppleInsider, users across the U.S. have reported upload speeds of around 100Kbps, well below the capabilities of the HSPA-capable iPhone 4. The issue has affected users in a number of major metropolitan areas across the country, including New York and Los Angeles.

While some speculated the problems were a result of bandwidth throttling by AT&T, that is not said to be the case. Instead, sources close to the story have stated that the issues are a result of an unintentional software glitch related to High-Speed Uplink Packet Access in some sections of the country. When working properly, HSUPA can allow uplink speeds of 5.76Mbit/s.

It is believed that a fix for the issue is forthcoming, though AT&T did not provide a comment on the matter as of Tuesday evening.

Rumor: AT&T may be capping iPhone upload speeds

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Date: Tuesday, July 6th, 2010, 04:07
Category: iPhone, News, Rumor

Over on the MacRumors forums, they’re comparing their recent iPhone upload speeds and they’re not happy. Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, users are experiencing uploads that appear to be capped at 100 kbps rather than the 1.6mbps that was a previous norm. Users have been comparing rates captured with tools like Speedtest.net’s Speed Test to put concrete numbers on perceived performance drops and it looks like that drop is huge, compared to the way things were just a week or two ago.

According to the thread, affected cities include: New York City, Central Jersey, Boston, Orlando, Seattle, South Jersey/Philly, Columbus, Cleveland, West Houston, Phoenix, Northern Colorado, St. Paul/Minnesota, Suffolk County/Long Island, Quad Cities, South Jersey, Denver, Detroit Metro, and Cincinnati.

TUAW ran a test in Denver, using SpeedTest.net’s application as well as FCC Mobile Broadband Test and iNetQCheck and experienced similar numbers as the ones reported in the MacRumors forum, with several stray data points in iNetQCheck runs — but even those remained below 200 kbps. This stands as a huge difference from the upload speeds reported just a week or two ago where a user test demonstrated upload speeds up to 3.5 mbps.

Wireless carrier AT&T has yet to offer an official comment due to the holiday and a recent guess has stated that the hypothetical upload caps may be a consequence of holiday weekend infrastructure work, and that speeds may return to normal tomorrow.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen this on your end, please let us know.

Apple cites iPhone 4 reception problems as software bug, promises fix within a few weeks

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Date: Friday, July 2nd, 2010, 04:30
Category: iPhone, News

First, as you may have noticed, there are issues with the iPhone 4′s reception. Still, Apple says this might not be what you think according to a recent press release from the company:

“Upon investigation, we were stunned to find that the formula we use to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display is totally wrong. Our formula, in many instances, mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength. For example, we sometimes display 4 bars when we should be displaying as few as 2 bars. Users observing a drop of several bars when they grip their iPhone in a certain way are most likely in an area with very weak signal strength, but they don’t know it because we are erroneously displaying 4 or 5 bars. Their big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place.

To fix this, we are adopting AT&T’s recently recommended formula for calculating how many bars to display for a given signal strength. The real signal strength remains the same, but the iPhone’s bars will report it far more accurately, providing users a much better indication of the reception they will get in a given area. We are also making bars 1, 2 and 3 a bit taller so they will be easier to see.

We will issue a free software update within a few weeks that incorporates the corrected formula. Since this mistake has been present since the original iPhone, this software update will also be available for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G.

The full press release can be found here and it seems a bit strange that Apple is once again blaming the formula.

Still, this is what it is and stay tuned for the software fix as well as additional details as they become available.